LUNENBURG- Even though Aunt Sadie has passed her name is still glowing thanks to a local candle company. Aunt Sadies Candlestix in Lunenburg Vermont is one of the only handmade candle shops left.
Aunt Sadies candles started in Boston in 1997 and were named after one of the co-owners grandmothers. The candles began as a Christmas gift then turned into an international business shipping from Vermont to Australia and every place in-between. After being laid off from a previous job, Gary Briggs decided from friends input to do something with these candles. In February of 1998, he rented his first Artist Loft Studio in the south end of Boston. One Sunday he took to his car and started driving around the Suburbs of Boston looking for stores to buy his candles. "Thinking that no one would place an order the first five stores, I went to ordered. I always say if the first five stores didn't order it wouldn't have happened because I wouldn't have been able to take the rejection." Says co-owner Gary Briggs.
In 2010 they closed their Boston retail store and relocated to Briggs hometown of Lunenburg. Now that they have relocated they have cut down on the number of employees from eighteen to six keeping it all in the family. Briggs felt that "Obviously we needed staff when we came up here, and we needed staff quickly because we were already an existing business. We already had customers you know we couldn't really go one day without making or shipping candles." His mom along with other family members volunteered to help him out eventually becoming full employees.
Business wise Gary feels that it is a lot easier to operate the business in Vermont than in Boston. For every delivery they had, they had no loading dock, so shipments either blocked traffic on the streets or made several dolly trips with the materials blocks down from their business. In Vermont, the loading truck backs up the driveway to a garage door. Everything they use is shipped in so as long as they have access to UPS, they are golden. Some other perks that come with moving to Vermont are people are willing to pay more for Vermont made products. "There has been studies shown two identical products that people are willing to spend fifteen percent more for a product made in Vermont than any other state in the country." Briggs found this out first hand at gift shows "When I would be at a gift show people would ask "Where are your candles made?" We would say Massachusetts and people would say "Oh Okay." When you say they are made in Vermont the response is always the same "Oh Vermont; I Love Vermont, I love that state, It's so pretty, it's so beautiful." So Vermont has a special lure."
Aunt Sadies Candles have 35 different fragrance which almost triples any company their size. Briggs prides himself on all the candles they make especially their unique scents. "We have the standard fragrances like vanilla, lilac, lavender, lemon and all that stuff but we've always been a company that tried to offer off-beat kinda stuff." Some of these unique fragrances include wet dirt, bacon, leather and medical marijuana.
Making unique labels that wrap around the candle has also become a staple of the business. Customers can select one of fifty, that represent each state. The label has a silhouette of the state, with the motto. For some states instead of the motto, lyrics from the state song are implemented.